Nutrition Lesson Plan 102: Vitamins and Minerals
Nutrition Lesson Plan 102: Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins – organic compounds which means they contain carbon, essential for life.
Either water soluble or fat soluble meaning they either need water or fat to be digested and absorbed.
Water soluble include (all are B-vitamins expect for vitamin C): Vit C
Fat soluble include: Vitamin A
Vitamin A Active form is retinal.
Also found in inactive form, which is activated by the body. This form is carotene (i.e. beta carotene found in carrots)
Vital for vision especially night vision
Needed for repair of tissue and bone
Involved in reproduction and fetal development
Helps immune system function
Food sources include – whole eggs, dairy, beef liver, dark green vegetables, yellow/orange colored vegetables
B-Vitamins Group of vitamins all involved in turning the food we eat into useable energy by the body
Include thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, B12, folic acid, biotin, pantothenic acid
Some B vitamins work solely to turn the food we eat into useable energy. Others have additional roles
o Thiamin (B1) assists the nervous system, heart muscle and regulates appetite
o Riboflavin (B2) plays a role in mucous membrane formation and skin formation
o B6 helps maintain normal homocysteine levels in the blood, which is an amino acid that helps reduce the risk of heart disease
o Folic acid (B9) helps form brain and spinal cord during fetal development and is involved in cell division and red blood
cell formation B vitamins are widespread in the food supply. Found mostly in green vegetables, meats, dairy and fortified foods
B12 is the only B vitamin not found in plant foods and therefore needs to be supplemented for those who are vegan
Vitamin C Aka ascorbic acid
Functions as antioxidant
Assists formation of collegen
Needed for wound healing
Decreases risk of cancer and heart disease
Found in fruits, vegetables especially citrus, bell peppers, kiwi, broccoli, strawberries, tomatoes, watermelon, potatoes, bananas and carrots
Vitamin D Known as the sunshine vitamin because we get most of what we need from sun exposure
Needed for calcium absorption
Helps maintain bones and teeth
Prevents rickets and osteoporosis
Assists in immune function, cell growth, fetal development
Lately has been shown to reduce risks of some cancers
Found in fatty fish, cod liver oil, dairy that has been fortified, egg yolks and beef liver
Vitamin E Acts as an antioxidant
Contributes to immune function and DNA repair
Sources include vegetable oil, nuts, beans, whole grains and fortified cereals
Vitamin K Plays an essential role in blood clotting
Main source is green leafy vegetables, cabbage, beef liver
Synthesized somewhat by the bacteria in the large intestine so we get some of what we need by our own body production
That finishes the Vitamin section of the nutrition lesson plan.
MineralsThis section of the nutrition lesson plan covers minerals. Categorized as either major or trace dependent upon how much our body needs. Trace minerals are needed just as much for function but they are needed in much smaller amounts than major minerals.
Major minerals include: Calcium
Trace minerals include: Iron
Minerals are inorganic, they do not contain carbon. They are much more simple in structure than vitamins. Therefore they are much less vulnerable to damage from heat, light, cooking, processing etc. They can be bound to other substances, such as oxylates in spinach and tea and phytates in legumes and grains, making them unavailable for digestion by the body.
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Calcium Involved in bone and teeth structure
Aids in muscle contraction, blood clotting, blood vessel contraction and dilation
Found in dairy foods, dark green vegetables, seaweeds, canned fish with edible bones, soy, sesame, almonds, fortified foods
Fluoride Plays role in bone health
Prevents tooth decay and cavities
Found in fortified tap water, tea and seafood
Iodine Needed for thyroid function
Found in iodized salt, seafood
Iron Needed for the formation of hemoglobin in the blood and myoglobin in muscle, both of which are oxygen carrying cells
Sources include red meat, organ meats, fish, poultry, eggs, beans, lentils, green leafy vegetables, dried fruits, enriched grains
We absorb animal form better than plant form. Vitamin C source improves absorption of plant form
Magnesium Assists in nerve and muscle function
Regulates muscle contractions and blood clotting
Maintains bones and teeth
Helps prevent constipation
Sources include green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains
Phosphorus Required for bone and tooth structure
Part of DNA
Found in most foods including animal and plant
Potassium Maintains water and electrolyte balance
Helps control activities of heart, muscle and nervous system
Present in almost all animal and plant foods
Selenium Functions as antioxidant
Helps prevent some cancers
Found in meat, chicken, fish, seafood, brazil nuts, grains, garlic, mushrooms
Sodium regulates water and electrolyte balance
required for nerve and muscle activity
maintains regular acid/base balance
Found in table salt, soy sauce, milk products, sea vegetables
Zinc Assists in the activity of numerous enzymes
Essential to immune function and wound healing
Aids in DNA synthesis and reproduction
Maintains sense of smell and taste
Food sources include meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy, whole grains, fortified cereals, and legumes
That concludes this nutrition lesson plan on vitamins and minerals. What did you think of our nutrition lesson plan?
© Integrative Nutrition11/09
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